MANCHESTER UNITED ace Tyrell Malacia has impressed at centre-back while on international duty with the Netherlands.
The Oranje beat Belgium 1-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday to secure top spot in their top-flight Nations League group thanks to winner-takes-all Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk.
But left-back Malacia managed to shine as he played in an unfamiliar position in a back three alongside Van Dijk and United transfer target Jurrien Timber.
The full-back came on as a half-time substitute when he replaced Manchester City ace Nathan Ake.
And the 23-year-old has shown exactly how deep Dutch manager Louis van Gaal is in defense ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Van Gaal has Ake, Van Dijk, Timber, Matthijs de Ligt and Stefan de Vrij at his disposal.
But the former United boss has lost former Stoke ace Bruno Martins Indi to injury which will rule him out of action in Qatar and so Malacia’s impressive performance could make him a valuable replacement.
Van Gaal told ESPN NL: “Martins Indi won’t make it [to the World Cup].
“I also wanted to see Malacia there, so Ake was replaced by Belgium.
“Because Martins Indi won’t make it, I have to look at other players who can play there.”
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Malacia’s display also works as a boost for United manager Erik ten Hag, who now knows he has even more options as a centre-back.
Ten Hag seems to prefer the pair of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane at the back.
Martinez stood out despite earlier concerns about his short stature.
However, Malacia also proved those critics wrong against Belgium as he also shone in that position, despite being even smaller than his Argentina team-mate.